Desmond Llewelyn Movies
"Bond -- James Bond," would have been nothing without Llewelyn -- Desmond Llewelyn. Llewelyn played the tweedy technophile who invented the bizarre gadgetry 007 used to thwart the sinister machinations of Dr. No, Goldfinger, and other dastardly villains in 17 Bond movies. Llewelyn's character was named Geoffrey Boothroyd, but no one in the Bond movies called him that. Instead, they called him "Q," short for "quartermaster." Like an army quartermaster who equips troops, Q equipped Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and other Bonds with the supplies of the espionage trade.
Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn was born in South Wales on September 12, 1914, the son of a Welsh coal-mining engineer. Interested in acting at an early age, he first studied accounting and law enforcement before enrolling in the Royal Academy of Arts at age 20. After joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the onset of World War II, he fought in France as a second lieutenant and fell into enemy hands after a two-day battle with a German panzer division. He spent the next five years in German POW camps at Rottenburg, Laufen, and Warburg. He once tried to tunnel his way to freedom, but failed.
Llewelyn returned to acting and began his film career in 1950 with a part in They Were Not Divided, then went on to appear in 31 other films, including the Bond films. Among the non-Bond films he appeared in, sometimes in quite minor roles, were Cleopatra (1963), Silent Playground (1964), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Merlin (1992), and Taboo (1997). Between 1963 and the year of his death, 1999, he played in all but two of the Bond films -- more than any of the actors who starred as James Bond, including Connery, Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan
. As Q, Llewelyn was always irascible and cranky in response to 007's carefree nonchalance. Like a professor with a flippant student, he scolded Bond to pay attention and tutored his charge in the use of "Q toys," as his booby-trapped marvels came to be known. Still, Q was a master of mischief, a gray-haired boy who concocted an endless variety of spy paraphernalia and bizarre weapons, like the Rolex watch that could alter the path of a speeding bullet; the pen grenade that, with three clicks of a button, could be set to detonate in four seconds; the key ring that could open almost any lock in the world, release nerve gas, or simply explode; and the Lotus sports car that doubled as a submarine, complete with torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles.
In real life, Llewelyn was all thumbs when it came to technology, and he was kind and gentle to all he encountered. On the movie set, his co-workers and other fans crowded around to observe when it came time for him to introduce his new marvel to the Bond de jour
, and he spent as long as it took to sign autographs for anyone who wanted one. Ironically, it was an automobile, a blue Renault Megane, that killed Llewelyn. He died in a hospital shortly after the Renault collided with another car near Firle in East Sussex, England, on December 19, 1999. The crash site was not far from his home, Bexhill-on-Sea, south of London. He was survived by his wife Pamela, whom he married in 1938, and two sons. His son Ivor told Britain's Sky Television, "He was a kind, very lovable man, and as a father he was great." ~ Mike Cummings, Rovi
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This hastily assembled sequel to the popular British service farce Up the Creek finds David Tomlinson returning in the role of Lt. Fairweather, skipper of the not-so-good ship Aristotle. This time, however, Fairweather's enterprisingly larcenous bos'un is played not by Peter Sellers but by music-hall favorite Frankie Howerd. The plot finds the Aristotle being sold to a mythical middle-eastern country. Assigned to deliver the vessel to its new owners, Fairweather discovers that his faithful bos'un has once again sold tickets to passengers, in direct violation of regulations. The resulting comic complications are as predictable as they are hilarious. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- David Tomlinson, Shirley Eaton, (more)
Handel's "Messiah" becomes a bone-of-contention in a tiny Welsh community in this comedy. The trouble begins when the choirmaster chooses a new contralto to sing the solo. Unfortunately, this leaves out the soloist who has sung the part for the past 15 years. This precipitates a family feud the women belong to the wealthiest family's in town. To reunite the warring factions, a young couple put off their elopement, but the real solution comes when the choirmaster turns the solo into a duet. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
This wartime drama recounts the training process of the British Tank Corps. The story concentrates on two recruits: Englishman Philip (Edward Underdown) and American David (Ralph Clanton). After a grueling training period and a long, frustratingly uneventful encampment on British soil, Philip and David are shipped to the Front. Both men have a rendezvous with destiny during the German offensive at Ardennes. R.S.M. Brittain etches a chilling portrayal of a merciless drill sergeant, while the splendidly mustached Michael Trubshawe is equally effective as a by-the-book major. Since there must be a romantic subplot, it is fortunate indeed that the heroes' ladies are played by two charming and talented actresses, Helen Cherry and Stella Andrews. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Edward Underdown, Ralph Clanton, (more)